THREE NEW directors have been appointed to the board of the Oxford Farming Conference, taking up their positions for a three-year term following the conference in January 2020.

Successful Devonshire pedigree sheep farmer Liz Bowles will be one of the new members joining the 10-strong council. She was recently named one of the most influential people on social media for regenerative agriculture and sheep farming: "I am aware of the duty of care to support the conference as it provides one of the most important opportunities for all involved in farming to come together to debate the very large changes the industry is facing from climate and UK agricultural policy as we leave the EU.”

Joining Ms Bowles will be head of rural research at Savills, Emily Norton who was brought up on a dairy farm in Norfolk. She recently completed a Nuffield scholarship on global best practice in agricultural policy design – seeking to place agricultural policy in its appropriate social and cultural situation: “OFC represents the pinnacle of the farming calendar – I use the time away, amongst inspirational leaders and thinkers, for setting my thoughts and ambitions for the year ahead. The speaker line up is important of course, but my personal ambition is to continue to foster a spirit of engagement and curiosity around the fringes of the conference room, so that those moments chatting to a stranger in the coffee queue or breakfast room continue to become the opportunities for inspiration and collaboration. OFC is where it really all can happen,” she enthused.

The final new member is the director of Berry Gardens, one of the UK’s largest grower cooperatives, Marion Regan. She co-manages a soft fruit and arable family farming business in Kent and is a director of start-up robotics company, Dogtooth Technologies. Of her appointment, she said: “Farming now encompasses such a diversity of views, people and crops – and sometimes no crops, and I am honoured in this role to be able to continue the work of the Council to promote the range of opinions articulated and challenged, bringing with me my own practical and commercial perspective to the debate.”

The OFC 2020 chair Matthew Naylor commented on the appointments: “For our next term we once again have a strong council with a mix of skills and experience from across farming which will keep the conference in its rightful place at the forefront of conversation in the industry. There are some exciting changes to the programme and format for 2020 to ensure the conference is inclusive, relevant and always progressive, and I look forward to seeing how the new directors take this forward again over the next three years.”